The transportation industry has been quick to react to the large amounts of transport and infrastructure funding included in the UK government’s Autumn Statement that was announced yesterday (November 23) by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
Following Hammond’s announcement that there will be an extra £1.1bn (US$1.3bn) invested in English transport networks, Roger Crow, the executive VP and managing director of Europe for Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), said, “We believe we need increased investment in the UK’s transport infrastructure alongside additional investment in intelligent mobility. We are already making real strides in developing smarter cities, which will open up transportation, delivering safer, more secure and reliable journeys for travelers. There are no easy answers, but additional investment in the most impactful areas would be a major step in the right direction in providing transport solutions, which will help relieve pressure created by population growth and traffic increases.”
Nick Gross (right), head of transport and infrastructure at leading law firm Coffin Mew, noted, “We have had serial underinvestment in our transport infrastructure for years. The Autumn Statement has sought to inject some life into this creaking system, using this as a weapon in its drive to increase the country’s productivity.
“The government has made it clear that it favors ‘shovel ready’ projects, the benefits of which can be felt more quickly, which is much needed.
“The support for companies investing in electric vehicle charge points, low emission vehicles, and connected autonomous vehicles is welcome and progressive, although those areas are still in their infancy, so we can’t expect to see the benefits for some time to come.”
Conference director for the biennial Traffex event, Adrian Tatum, commented, “It’s great to see the government valuing the importance of investing in our national motorway infrastructure. We are incredibly pleased to see a focus being placed on congestion issues and the causes behind them. Investment in innovative technology is essential in the fight against traffic congestion and its negative impact on the environment. It’s unacceptable that traffic flow can be allowed to be disrupted to the extent that it is along the UK’s freeways and local routes. We have seen a big influx of new innovative tech providers, which demonstrates the appetite for these new products and services.”
James Stamp (left), head of transport at professional services company, KPMG UK, said, “Making more from the capacity we have is key. Without this, congestion will remain a limiting factor on productivity. It is vital that investment in transport innovation tackles not only the specific issues of today, but also how and why people will travel in the future.
“Smart ticketing, autonomous vehicles and smart infrastructure all individually promise incremental benefits, and investment in this area is therefore encouraging. But the exponential change that could be unleashed by combining these initiatives, along with better use of data for providing information and choice to passengers, is the real prize.
“Translating the potential of Mobility-as-a-Service to reality will require collaboration between policy makers, private operators and transport authorities.”